After viewing news photographs from China for years, one of my favorite visual themes is “large crowd formations.”  Whether the subject is military parades or world-record attempts, mass exercises or enormous performances, the images are frequently remarkable. The masses of people can look beautiful or intimidating, projecting a sense of strength and abundance. Individuals can become pixels in a huge painting, or points on a grid, or echoes of each other in identical uniforms or costumes. I've gathered some of these images below, taken around China over the past several years. (Note: A few of these images can create a dizzying effect when viewed while scrolling, which is fun, but could be surprising.)

1. Chinese People's Liberation Army sailors march past Tiananmen Square during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 2009, in Beijing.
Feng Li / Getty Images
2. A group of 1,000 customers receive facial massages at a sports center in Jinan, Shandong Province, China, on May 4, 2015. The group of 1,000 women were given 30-minute facial treatments together, achieving a Guinness world record for the largest group of people having beauty treatment in the same location, according to local media.
Reuters
3. Students of Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School are suspended in mid-air as they practice in a rehearsal for a stunt performance for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, at a stadium in Nanjing, on August 9, 2014.
Reuters
4. Entertainers perform with their fou drums, ancient Chinese percussion instruments, during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, on August 8, 2008.
Christophe Simon / AFP / Getty Images
5. Members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Aviation stand at attention during a training session at the 60th National Day Parade Village, on the outskirts of Beijing, on September 15, 2009.
Joe Chan / Reuters
6. Parents of students sleep on mats laid out on the floor of a gymnasium inside a university campus in Wuhan, central China's Hubei province in this picture taken, on September 3, 2007.
Reuters
7. Performers participate in the closing ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing, on August 24, 2008.
David Guttenfelder / AP
8. Participants perform Chinese Taiji boxing during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the third World Traditional Wushu Championship in Shiyan, Hubei Province, on October 24, 2008.
Reuters
9. Chinese paramilitary soldiers line up by a sweeper near the National Aquatic Center while swimmers are in a practice session for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, on August 6, 2008.
Itsuo Inouye / AP
10. Schoolchildren perform morning exercises at their school in Shanghai, on October 14, 2009.
Nir Elias / Reuters
11. Tai Lihua (center), art director of China Disabled People's Performing Art Troupe, leads deaf dancers to perform Guan Yin, or  “Thousand-hand Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva,” a Chinese goddess, in Suining, Sichuan Province, on June 30, 2009. Feeling music through speakers and guided by hand gestures, the troupe takes steps to champion the rights of disabled people around the world.
Reuters
12. More than 1,000 Paramilitary policemen take part in an exercise in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on September 2, 2014.
Reuters / China Daily
13. Chinese military air force members practice marching at a camp in Beijing, on September 10, 2009.
Ng Han Guan / AP
14. Police from the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team take part in an anti-terrorist drill in Dongying, Shandong Province, on July 11, 2014.
Reuters
15. Students of Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School are suspended in mid-air as they practice in a dress rehearsal for a stunt performance for the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, at a stadium in Nanjing, on August 14, 2014.
Reuters
16. Hundreds of police officers stand alongside brand new police vehicles provided by local government to ensure public security over the New Year holidays during a handover ceremony in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, on December 30, 2009.
Reuters
17. Students perform martial arts during a competition at a high school in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on October 20, 2011.
Sean Yong / Reuters
18. Students of Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School participate in a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games, at a stadium in Nanjing, on August 9, 2014. A total of 520 students took part in the performance named “Building the Dream.”
Reuters
19. Percussionists perform with their fou drums, ancient Chinese percussion instruments, during the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, on August 8, 2008.
Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images
20. Members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy march in formation during a training session at the 60th National Day Parade Village on the outskirts of Beijing, on September 15, 2009.
Joe Chan / Reuters
21. Pregnant women practice yoga as they attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest prenatal yoga class, in Changsha, Hunan Province, on June 8, 2014. A total of 505 pregnant women participated in a yoga class together for 37 minutes and 28 seconds on Sunday, exceeding the current Guinness World Record set in Shenzhen in 2013 with 423 women, local media reported.
Reuters / China Daily
22. Students take an examination on an open-air playground at a high school in Yichuan, Shaanxi Province, on April 11, 2015. More than 1,700 freshmen students took part in the exam, which was the first attempt by the school to take it in open air. The school said the reason was due to the insufficient indoor space and also that it could also be a test of the students' organizing capacity.
Reuters
23. People's Liberation Army soldiers perform during a rehearsal of a musical drama entitled “The Road of Revival” at a gymnasium in Beijing, on August 19, 2009.
Kevin Zhao / Reuters
24. An honor guard is prepared for a welcoming ceremony for Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, on September 27, 2013.
Ed Jones / AFP / Getty Images
25. An all-Chinese women militia marches past during the National Day parade in Beijing, on October 1, 2009.
Goh Chai Hin / AFP / Getty Images
26. Paramilitary recruits form a heart pattern to celebrate the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, which falls on February 14, 2010, the same day as Valentine's Day, during a photo opportunity at an army base in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, on February 10, 2010.
Reuters / China Daily
27. Paramilitary policemen salute as they attend a flag-raising ceremony to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on October 1, 2014.
Reuters
28. Performers and dancers are seen around a scroll during the opening ceremonies of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, on August 8, 2008.
Julie Jacobson / AP
29. Police officers line up prior to the opening ceremony in the National Stadium at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, on August 8, 2008.
Charlie Riedel / AP
30. Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, on July 16, 2011.
Issei Kato / Reuters
31. University students perform Chinese tai chi, a traditional form of Chinese martial arts, during a ceremony to celebrate the upcoming National Day in Nanjing, on September 25, 2009.
Jeff Xu / Reuters
32. Soldiers from the Chinese People's Liberation Army ground force march in formation past Tiananmen Square during a massive parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, on October 1, 2009.
Jason Lee / Reuters
33. Participants perform tai chi during a public fitness activity at the Olympic Central Park in Beijing, on August 14, 2010.
Jason Lee / Reuters
34. Thousands of soldiers of Jiangsu Armed Police Force attend an oath ceremony for the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games protection, on July 29, 2014, in Nanjing, China.
ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
35. Students stand in formation on a field as they form a smiley face in an attempt to break a world record, in celebration of the 110th anniversary of their university in Nanjing, on April 27, 2012. A total of 3,110 students from Nanjing Agricultural University broke the Guinness World Record for World Largest Smiley Face, overtaking the last world record of 2,961 volunteers in Canada on July 2011, local media reported.
Sean Yong / Reuters